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Jay-Z Addresses Infidelity, Politics & His Mother in an Intimate Interview

Shawn Corey Carter, a.k.a. Jay-Z, sat down with the New York Times's executive editor, Dean Baquet, for a tell-all interview where the rapper opened up about race, rap, politics, and breaking his love's heart.


Jay-Z discussed the rapper's infidelity to Beyonce and explained the two confronted the issue while in the midst of writing for their respective albums - his 4:44 and Beyonce's Lemonade. He told the NYTimes, "We were using our art almost like a therapy session. And we started making music together."

The two wrote for a joint project, something fans have been hoping for, but it's been shelved for the time being as there is no official release date. "And then the music she was making at the time was further along," he said, referring to Lemonade. "So her album came out as opposed to the joint album that we were working on."

While there are plenty of unreleased material from that collaboration, their work together is what led up to personal work to date, 4:44. He said their reactions to each other's work was "very, very uncomfortable." He added, "But the best place is right in the middle of the pain."

But being in the middle of the storm didn't take away the respect they have for each other's artistry.

It was uncomfortable. And we had a lot of conversations. You know. [I was] really proud of the music she made, and she was really proud of the art I released. And, you know, at the end of the day we really have a healthy respect for one another's craft. I think she's amazing.

Jay-Z discussed the repurcussions of infidelity.

You know, most people walk away, and like divorce rate is 50 percent or something 'cause most people can't see themselves. The hardest thing is seeing pain on someone's face that you caused, and then have to deal with yourself.

The interview led to the topic of his gay mother, which is something he addresses in the track, "Smile," from 4:44. Jay-Z had his suspicions about his mother's sexuality during his "teenage years," but the two never discussed it. "We β€” it just exist. It was there. Everyone knew," he said. But things have changed since then.

Until, like, recently, now we start having these beautiful conversations, and just really getting to know each other. We were always good friends but now we're really great friends. You know. And we were just talking as friends. And then she was sharing that she was in love. She can be herself [now]. She doesn't have to hide for her kids or feel like she's embarrassing her kids. It was a much different time then. [Now] she can just live her full life, her whole life, and be her.

Jay-Z also talked about his complicated friendship with Kanye West. They've had recent tensions since West joined the business on Jay-Z's label, but Jay-Z claims they don't avoid each other despite their constrained relationship.

So I've always been like a big brother. And we're both entertainers. It's always been like a little underlying competition with your big brother. And we both love and respect each other's art, too. So it's like, we both – everyone wants to be the greatest in the world. You know what I'm saying? And then there's like a lot of other factors that play in it. But it's gonna, we gonna always be good.

When Baquet commented on 4:44 sounding like a therapy album, and the rapper agreed. Jay-Z admitted he's been to therapy sessions and disclosed what those sessions were like for him.

I grew so much from the experience. But I think the most important thing I got is that everything is connected. Every emotion is connected and it comes from somewhere. And just being aware of it. Being aware of it in everyday life puts you at such a ... you're at such an advantage. You know, you realize that if someone's racist toward you, it ain't about you. It's about their upbringing and what happened to them, and how that led them to this point. You know, most bullies bully. It just happen. Oh, you got bullied as a kid so you trying to bully me. I understand.

The intimate interview resonated with fans.

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H/T - nytimes, twitter, rollingstone,